Shell’s alcohol-free journey

As I wrote this, I am 389 alcohol-free (second time round), I did 402 days AF in 2018 then decided I could moderate. 

How wrong was I…? lol 

My love of alcohol started very young, I had my first big drinking session at 13 years old and blacked out first time, you would think that would have turned me off, and I so wish this was the case. But alas no, I would become one hell of a wild party girl who despite having children very young (pregnancies and young children were the only time I did not drink) I would always be known as the life of the party. 

I was able to balance family life and career, but geez… I could party, I would black out regularly not even knowing how I got home or what I did. 

When I think back, I am amazed that I am still here, I put myself in the most dangerous situations on so many occasions. 

My 20s and 30s revolved around parenting, career, and drinking. When I separated, I had every second weekend free where I kept my party lifestyle going strong. Days off work due to hangovers were the norm as was blacking out and having major anxiety due to embarrassing myself. This is how I functioned for many, many years. 

Fast forward to 2017, I was in my late forties, I had 2 grown up children, 4 beautiful grandchildren and my teenage daughter from my second marriage. I was managing a childcare centre and living life telling myself my drinking was normal and that I did not have a problem. 

My son, who was 25 at the time, along with his family, were living with me and my teenage daughter in a regional town in QLD. One day, I had been at the rugby union with a friend where the alcohol was free, I got dropped off home very merry and joined my son in some more drinks. I do not remember much after this until I heard sirens behind us, that’s when I became present again. It was late, and my son was driving, he only had a learner licence at the time, we stopped, got out and both blew high range. We were placed in separate police cars (due to our toxification levels, we were both carrying on like idiots) and taken to the local watch house where we were placed in separate cells for the night. 

When we were woken up by the police in the morning, they reminded us of our arrest details, and we were given our court dates. I was then suspended from driving, effective immediately. No surprise there after a reading of nearly legally dead… The shame, humiliation, let alone the hangover from hell. We were both put into the back of the paddy wagon and were driven home to our distressed family. My teenage daughter was disgusted with me and immediately went to a friend’s place for a few days. I went to bed where I stayed for the next 24 hours, never wanting to get up.  

My shame and remorse are still with me to this day,
but I am slowly forgiving myself.

I lost my licence for 14 months and was fined $2000. I was spared a conviction as this was the first time I had been in any kind of trouble – a conviction would have lost me my job. I was grateful to the judge for this.  

I could not talk about it without crying for nearly a year. My shame and remorse are still with me to this day, but I am slowly forgiving myself. 

The week after the arrest, I attended an AA meeting where there were only three of us. They were studying the Big Book, and this was not for me. I would start my days, for the next 10 months, telling myself that I will not drink tonight but would end up heading (walking) to the bottle shop on my way home. The mind games were ongoing and exhausting. 

I came across Sexy Sobriety on Facebook and asked my sister to buy me the book titled A Happier Hour by Rebecca Weller for my birthday. This book changed my life, it was like reading my own story. This book gave me the resources to set a date and finally commit to having a break from the drink, my plan was to stop for 3 months.  

I downloaded the app, Daybreak which has been one of my most used tools in my alcohol free (AF) journey. I read heaps of books and after getting to three months I decided to keep going. My health improved dramatically (I think all the walking also helped) to the point where I did not need medication for high blood pressure anymore. I felt amazing, I changed my career, my daughter forgave me, and life was pretty good. 

I was so in the mindset of: ‘I will never drink again’ then BOOM!. After 400 days, out of nowhere, my mind changed to: ‘I am going to drink again, and I can surely – after this long moderate, not lose the plot’. I did moderate for a few months but then I was slowly ending up blacking out and having benders again. The difference this time was that the hangovers were so much worse than last time. I was getting extremely intoxicated on a minimal amount of alcohol, my body was rejecting the poison big time.

My mindset changed from:
‘I will never drink again
to: ‘I am going to drink again, and I can surely –
after this long moderate, not lose the plot’.
How wrong was I?

I knew that I needed to stop. I had one attempt, where I stopped for 21 days but it did not stick, it was so hard to start at day 1 again.  

Last year I set my start date as the 1st of February but because of being so hungover on the 31st of January, that became my day 1. I got back on Daybreak and started doing the work to change my mindset again. 

I love living life AF, I have my health back again and I know today that I will not drink. I am sharing part of my story to help my healing as well as to let others know it is possible to change your relationship with alcohol. 

Love to all, 

Shell xx 

Shell is a banker in the finance industry. She is on a spiritual journey in helping herself and others
to find peace by working through their addictions. Shell loves spending time at the beach reading a good book.
Her 4 grandbabies bring great joy to her world.

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23 Comments

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  • Thank you so much, you and I must of been twins in a pass life.

    You are so inspiring. I loved what you said about our bodies do not want a poison. I to have had a relapse, but are back on track again and just a few beers nearly killed me so so sick. I wish you all the best for your future. Kiwi

    By Jamie Lawson
    |
    March 19, 2022
    • Thank you Shell. I’ve printed your story so I can reread and reflect. So many of us have similar stories. My angst ( apart from personal health harm etc) is the text messages I send. Humiliation, anxiety. Just awful. The only thing positive to come out of my struggle is that I am so much less judgmental about others situations.
      I’m only 3 days into a recommitment and your story helped so much.
      PS I’m doing The Path ( Annie Grace) it’s good for me.

      By Mim
      |
      March 19, 2022
      • Thanks for reading my Story Mim, I so get the text message thing and the aftermath is horrid. Well done on your recommitment you got this. Annie Grace’s resources are also part of my sobriety toolkit. Sending you luv and strenght on your journey xx

        By Shell
        |
        March 21, 2022
    • Thank you so much for your kind words and well done for putting yourself back on track, sending you lots of strength and healing in your journey xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • Thank you so much for sharing your story.

    By Ky
    |
    March 19, 2022
    • Thank you for reading Ky 🙂

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • Well done Shell for sharing your story, your strength and your authenticity. I have no doubt that your story and work with others in this area will change lives. I’m almost 3 years sober after a dependency that lasted 27, years. Honestly, life is soooooo much better. Sending so much love and good vibes to you x

    By Jemima
    |
    March 19, 2022
    • Inspiring Jemima 3 yrs is awesome and I agree, life is soooo much better, wishing you well on your journey xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • Well done. I’m trying myself but it’s so hard after drinking for so long. I want to do it for my dogs. I owe it to them to be here for them. I’m 66 and really need to succeed for there sake. I’m drinking alcohol free beer but struggling with the wine. I don’t understand why the government don’t reduce the alcohol tax on alcohol free beer and get the prices lowered to encourage people to drink it instead of full strength beer and wine.

    By Tony
    |
    March 19, 2022
  • Fantastic. You give me hope

    By Bobby
    |
    March 19, 2022
    • Thank you Bobby, Ime glad it helped xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • Your story has a lot of similarities that resonate with me, years of dysfunctional black out drinking, behaving in ways that have ultimately shamed me and pushed a lot of people out of my life and most recently gotten me another appearance in front of a magistrate for more serious charges. I have tried everything to stop and moderate for decades, I guess this has been the biggest rock bottom for me as I feel there really isn’t much further I can dig and I’ve literally hit granite now. What this has done has bought me to a very sobering place and my actions drunk seem so surreal to sober me. Ultimately I have consequences for my drinking that are very serious and confronting now, the only good thing that has come out of my last few drunks is that I’m gratefully 14 days sober today. Thank you for your story.

    By R
    |
    March 19, 2022
    • Hey R, I so feel for you right now, I hope all works out for you and good on you for being 14 days sober in such tough times, that takes true strength…Sending luv xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • Absolutely wonderful thank you for sharing this, well done

    By Cinnamon
    |
    March 19, 2022
    • Thank you for reading Cinnamon xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • Fantastic blog, thanks for sharing Shell. I can relate to much of what you wrote. I do not miss the shame and remorse that goes hand in hand with heavy drinking. Four years on the flip side and life is way better this way. Congratulations on your new lease on life! xxx

    By Faye
    |
    March 19, 2022
    • Thank you so much, four years is awesome, so inspiring xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • This was perfect timing for me, I have just reached the “end” of a quit alcohol for 365 days goal…. Reading your story reminds me of the person I can be when I drink … I have had a couple of drinks recently and have thought I’ve got this I can manage to moderate, BUT all it takes is for just a few more weeks to feel like I have it under control before I am out of control! Thankyou I am definitely at the beginning of my alcohol free living journey rather than the end! You are amazing and a wonderful inspiration for women in our 40s to take back our life! 🥰

    By Kylie Spragg
    |
    March 20, 2022
    • Thank you so much Kylie and yes it is such a slippery slope, when ever my little brain tries to trick me into moderating I just take my mind back to one of my horrendous hangovers and I grab a AF bevvy real quick.

      Congratulations on 365 days lovely xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • I needed to read this today, thank you Shell 🙂 You are so right about the exhausting mind games! My brain is very sneaky and tricks me into thinking I can just have one or 2 for… insert lame excuse… reason. I too was enjoying feeling so healthy, sleeping so well, looking younger, and still my brain sabotaged me. You’ve helped me strengthen my resolve! Again!!

    By Lis
    |
    March 20, 2022
    • Your so very welcome Lis, the mind games really do suck, my peace of mind is trully one the best things that I am grateful for in my sobriety.

      Sending luv and strength, you got this xx

      By Shell
      |
      March 21, 2022
  • Congratulations Shell on your achievement and for sharing your story

    By Jocelyn
    |
    March 21, 2022
  • Best wishes, I stopped drinking (again!”) just before Christmas, I don’t believe in going back to day one! this isn’t a game of snakes and ladders!! I’m listening to a lot of self hypnosis Vids on YouTube to relax, its a cheaper habit too

    By Sheridan
    |
    April 16, 2022
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